Strengthening Emergency Nutrition and Agricultural Responses Resilience to Prevent Child Wasting – FAO Action Plan to Prevent Child Wasting (2023-2024) – World


an introduction

The continuing effects of stopping the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, and now the rising prices of food, feed, fertilizer and fuel, are deepening poverty and exacerbating food insecurity and malnutrition for millions of people. The 15 most affected countries host 27 million children who are severely food insecure and at risk of wasting, a condition that puts them at risk of death and also affects their growth and development. It is estimated that eight million children are now severely wasted, with lasting effects throughout their lives.

Life-saving interventions exist, but unless the underlying issues of poverty and food insecurity that cause child wasting are addressed simultaneously, the potential for relapse and lasting effects is very real. The international community is responding with a wave of humanitarian and development assistance, which includes actions focused on child wasting prevention as part of that response – something that was not always the case in the past.

Through the Global Plan of Action on Wasted Children, mandated by the UN Secretary-General in 2019, five UN agencies – Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have come together ) and the World Food Program and the World Health Organization – together to jointly respond through a multi-system approach that includes but goes beyond the immediate focus on treatment.

They have committed to coordinating and coordinating their actions to ensure that families with children in vulnerable situations have access to safe, nutritious food and services to prevent wasting and to ensure that recovering children do not revert to wasting. This includes enhancing access to and quality of health services, clean drinking water, adequate sanitation and hygiene throughout the year, and timely social protection to fill gaps in access to food and nutritious services.

FAO plays a key role in supporting families with at-risk children and pregnant and lactating women and girls to prevent child wasting or ensure there are no relapses for children undergoing treatment. By including nutrition in emergency agricultural responses, FAO will support countries to build the resilience of the most vulnerable individuals and strengthen family livelihoods, thus breaking the cycle of distress that underlies child wasting.
We urgently need to complement life-saving interventions with a prevention strategy that will wean children who have recovered from wasting and prevent future cases in the most vulnerable communities and families. It is time for communities themselves to bridge the gap between short-term humanitarian assistance and development activities focused on prevention. We can prevent the catastrophe of child wasting in the long term only by sustainably reducing acute food insecurity.

Chu Dongyu

Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization

Strengthening Emergency Nutrition and Agricultural Responses Resilience to Prevent Child Wasting – FAO Action Plan to Prevent Child Wasting (2023-2024) – World

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